SEO can be a minefield of differing opinions depending upon whom you speak to. We've prepared a list of some basic search engine optimisation techniques to optimise your website for competitive keyword phrases to get you on your way.
Before you read any further, let me make one thing categorically clear, unless the content you provide is original, useful, and up to date then you are wasting your time. All of the advice below assumes you have something useful to say in the first place.
If it is possible, try and get your keywords into your URL. If your keywords have been taken incorporate hyphens into the URL. Google reads hyphens as spaces so you can potentially attain a keyword rich URL for your website. It's less important that it used to be (see our Domain Name Alignment article), however still something to consider.
Studies suggest that people tend to click on keyword rich short URLs. Webmasters believe this is because search engines highlight keyword terms in their SERP’s, resulting in more people being drawn to that link. Having your keywords in your URL is said to be beneficial to websites with low page ranks.
Keyword research is the starting point of SEO i.e. you need to identify what search phrases / terms your clients would use to find you and your business. If you are creating content based around keywords which not many people are using then it’s less effective. It's very easy to rank position 1, page 1 for a really obscure keyword but if nobody is using that phrase to search, it's pointless.
Make sure find out which keywords have a reasonable level of traffic associated with them. Use geo-targeting to focus your keywords to a specific segment, e.g. ‘Wordpress Development Stockport‘. People looking for web developers in Stockport are more likely to search for Stockport web developers rather than a non geographic generic search term.
Make sure you make full use of free keyword tools out there on the web. here are some of the most popular keyword research tools:
People are NEVER going to be searching for your company name (Nike, Coca Cola etc. excepted) when they are looking for a specific service, so being #1 for your company name, whilst a good thing, isn’t necessarily going to generate new enquiries.
Be sure to get your keywords into your title element. This is displayed at the top of your browser window and on the browser tab. Google (and other search engines) all show page titles in their results listings and it is a powerful indicator of relevance to a search query. Get your keywords close to the beginning of your title element a.k.a ‘front loading’. Don’t put filler words in your title tags otherwise Google may associate your website with words within that title that are irrelevant, eg. we use ‘Marketing your business | Software Reviews | Marketing Consultancy’.
Make sure to keep your title less than 65 characters, this includes any punctuation marks or spaces. This is because when your website appears in the search engine Google will cut off any other characters that exceed 65 characters, which means users will find it hard to understand what your website is about.
Try to incorporate keyword splicing. This means hitting numerous keywords with one keyword phrase.
This gives a short description about your website. Google doesn’t rely on this, however they do use it if it is there. Use descriptive H1, H2 and H3 titles on each of your web pages and structure them correctly. Do NOT use them to make text bigger when it's not a heading.
Search engine spiders pick up these key words and assume the rest of your content is relevant to your heading tags. The spiders are really clever nowadays and can read the structure of a page and it's content, then rank it's relevancy to the target audience automatically.
Register your website on popular directories and secondary directories that are topic specific to your services and products. For example an Electrician may register with DMOZ as their primary directory and Localelectrician.co.uk as a sector specific directory. When registering with these directories it is important to use your key words in your anchor text. E.g Manchester electricians
Submit your URL to the top search engines. This lets them know that your site is live and that they should index it within their database. They’ll find out anyway in due course but why wait.
Inbound links are one of the most important aspects of SEO. Getting good quality links from popular websites is key to getting your website up the SERPs. Make sure to use free tools like backlink checker to analyse which links are being used by search engines to validate your website. DO NOT throw away money getting 1000 irrelevant and useless backlinks. A few high quality links is far more useful.
Make sure you create a spreadsheet monitoring your ranking within the SERP’s on your chosen keywords. You can use a very useful plugin for Firefox called Rank Checker.
SEO is an ongoing project; you must keep repeating these steps in order to stay in competition for your keywords. Find a way of incorporating content development into your weekly routine – or alternatively, recruit the help of an experienced SEO agency like ourselves to manage your content for you.